If he dropped a catch, whole crowd would go ‘Mahi Mahi’ – Chahal recalls Pant’s struggles

India’s spinner Yuzvendra Chahal expressed admiration for Rishabh Pant, who currently features in all three formats for the Indian cricket team. Success didn’t come easy for Pant and he had to go through hard times before securing his place in the team.

Chahal recalled how Pant was mocked by the crowd with chants of his predecessor, MS Dhoni on wicket-keeping mistakes. Pant was seen as the ideal replacement of Dhoni and Chahal said everyone expected him to be like the legendary wicket-keeper.

“Actually, everyone wanted him (Pant) to be like Mahi bhai. The way MSD was behind the stumps. I remember if Pant would ever drop any catch or the DRS went wrong, then the whole ground would start shouting ‘Mahi Mahi’.

“So, there was a lot of pressure on that child (Pant)… because he was only around 19 or 20 years old at that time. We would tell him to ignore all these things and focus on your game. He was under tremendous pressure…then he was also out of the team for a while,” Chahal told SGTV.

Pant has played some memorable knocks in last one year and by putting his ability on display he earned the faith. He had played a match-winning knock of unbeaten 89 runs in the Gabba Test to ensure a historic win for Team India.

“He made a superb comeback. He has improved a lot; he has shown a lot of maturity. His performance has been really good and I guess people should understand that when a sportsperson is on the ground, he tries his best, and nobody wants to perform badly. People should give a little respect to the player,” he said.

Chahal said that there’s no replacement of any player, and especially someone like Dhoni, but Pant is trying his best to fill the shoes. “Bowlers are now getting good help from Pant being behind the stumps. See, there is no replacement for any player. There can be no replacement for Mahi bhai. Pant is trying his best to do better and better. No need to do comparisons,” he concluded.